The new perspective adopted by Angela Vettese assures the success of Italy’s oldest art fair

“It was great to see the enthusiastic response of the whole city of Bologna, its museums, private collections, the crowded streets during Art City White Night, the galleries and underground spaces all come together to support Arte Fiera”, says a satisfied Angela Vettese. “The Arte Fiera days were intense ones”, adds Antonio Bruzzone, General Manager of BolognaFiere, “both at the Fair and in town. It confirms the choices and approach taken by Artistic Director Angela Vettese. Once again at this edition we have worked in close partnership with our region’s public and private institutions to offer visitors the opportunity to see at close hand what the galleries are proposing at the Fair and to enjoy the very many events of a truly excellent cultural programme that was greatly appreciated by the many art enthusiasts here in Bologna for Arte Fiera”.

A curatorial approach, cutting edge art events, a highly selective programme and market opportunities were the hallmark of these five days of Arte Fiera that brought excellent sales in the contemporary art sector and stable business for the modern art section, along with many expert visitors, and good reviews from press and critics. This edition of Arte Fiera opened its doors with 152 top-drawer galleries – most, but not all, Italian - out of a total of 182 exhibitors. They had been invited to propose carefully thought through exhibitions that no longer made a distinction between modern and contemporary art, thereby allowing for a more fluid exhibition circuit in which visitors were able to create their own ideal path cutting across trends and genres.

The 42nd edition of Arte Fiera was inaugurated on 1 February in the presence of the authorities, collectors, institutions, and members of the press. At closure, 48,000 visitors had been registered, and many other indications confirm the success of the curatorial programme started in 2017 and consolidated this year by Angela Vettese, who has given Italy’s oldest modern and contemporary art fair a new lease of life.

Other important results showing the overall success of the tradeshow include: the increase in the number of awards for artists and galleries, and the creation of an Arte Fiera Fund by Carisbo Foundation that this year will add to the Art and History Collections of the Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna Foundation. In addition, the MAST Foundation purchased several photographic works. The Fair also benefited from the many different initiatives that included performances, artworks in various venues around the old town, exhibitions focusing on specific artists, an array of rare books, and a conference that looked into the relationship between trade fairs and exhibitions that brought together several authoritative specialist journals and universities.

There were six important awards this year: the Euromobil Award, given to Barbara De Vivi for her work “Notturno” presented by Galleria Marcolini (Forlì), and Matthew Attard with “Untitled (You are a poser!)”, presented by Galleria Michela Rizzo (Venice). The ANGAMC Award for Lifetime Achievement was given to the Milanese gallerist Giorgio Marconi. The #ContemporaryYoung Award went to the artist Rodrigo Hernandez with the work “Small Spaceman” presented by Galleria P420 (Bologna). The Centro Porsche Bologna Award went to Martino Genchi for the work “Linger” presented by Galleria Michela Rizzo (Venice). The Bologna Valle del Samoggia Rotary Award was given to the Rome gallery Materia, the Rotaract Bologna Award to Giulia Marchi with “Cameria Anecoica”, while the Special Andrea Sapone Award went to Giuseppe De Mattia with “Salta Pesce”. The Consultinvest Award went to Liu Bolin for the work “Sala del Trono” presented by Galleria Boxart (Verona).

The purchases made included those already mentioned by the Carisbo Foundation, which earmarked €50,000 for its Arte Fiera Fund for the purchase of one or more works to be added to its Art and History Collections of the Cassa di Risparmio di Bologna Foundation, and those of the MAST Foundation, which chose photographic works on the theme of industry and work from the exhibitions at Arte Fiera to add to its collection.

The International conference “Between Exhibition and Fair: entre chien et loup”, organised in partnership with Venice’s IUAV University under the aegis of the University of Bologna, on the question of hybridisation and the blurred confines between exhibitions and art fairs maintained its promise and prompted stimulating debate among academics, artists, critics, curators, editors and other players in the art system.

The well-honed Main Section, Solo Show, Nueva Vista and Photo were flanked by the very successful subsection Modernity dedicated to the works of selected artists considered worthy of special attention for the power of their work. Then there was the eclectic area Printville that made available to visitors a wide array of exhibitions, products and artefacts by independent publishers, ceramic manufacturers and printers.

The programme of exhibitions and events of Polis and Art City caused a buzz that had not been seen in the city for some time, thanks to the excellent collaborative work by BolognaFiere and Bologna City authorities. This year, the Polis programme was made up of Polis/Artworks, Polis/Cinema, curated by Mark Nash, Polis/Special Projects: Performing the Gallery, curated by Chiara Vecchiarelli, and Polis/BBQ.

Private parties at collectors’ homes and private foundations, but also thousands of people out in the city for Art City White Night, all confirmed that Bologna is truly Italy's modern and contemporary art capital.

More than 1,000 journalists from all over the world – from Russia and China through to the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands - were accredited and gave national and international coverage to the Fair and the proposals of the innovative artistic approach. The result was a raft of radio and television reports, about 1000 articles in the printed press and online, with special programmes and interviews prior to and during Arte Fiera 2018.

Arte Fiera clocked up excellent results on the online media. Its digital platform gained in visibility and reach, becoming the hub of its online presentation of news and initiatives as well as a key source of data. The website had more than 180,000 visits for this edition with peaks of more than 18,000 unique users a day. The four social media channels involved (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube) were the key points of reference for this sector’s community with more than 47,000 Facebook fans (+2,000 alone for this latest edition) and a daily reach of 40,000 users. There were more than 9000 followers on Twitter. Instagram proved the favourite channel for sharing news, with a 50% growth on 2017 (over 9000 followers) and 30,000 views a day generated just by the “Instagram Stories”.

Our sincere thanks go to the Main Sponsor of the 2018 edition of Arte Fiera the Euromobil Group with its affiliate companies Euromobil Cucine, Zalf Mobili and Desirée Divani, to our partner ANGAMC - the National Association of Modern and Contemporary Art Galleries, our media partner: Artprice.com_ and Selections, and the official car provider Porsche, Centro Porsche Bologna. The VIP Lounge concept was by MSTUDIO extraordinary events - technical sponsors: Adrenalina We are Different, Domingo, Filicori Zecchini, Latifolia Group, Leucos, Mood Style Water.